Women’s International Friendly 2022: How Germany’s attacking realism helped them beat France – tactical analysis
Germany Women faced France Women on Friday, October 7, at the Rudolf Harbig Stadion and the match ended with a 2-1 win for the Germans. It was an important game for both teams to assess their readiness for the upcoming 2023 Women’s World Cup and see what they lack and what they need to improve in order to beat their rivals during the tournament.
It was also an opportunity for both national team head coaches to test their players and try their tactics ahead of the upcoming important games. Germany looked more compact and more determined to win as they exploited their chances very well and were able to score two goals thanks to their striker Alexandra Popp and her finishing abilities.
At the same time, France tried to equalise and disturb Germany but they were only able to score one goal thanks to the sub Viviane Asseyi. Germany confirmed their huge potential once again after reaching the Euros 2022 final and surprising most followers. And this time, they proved that they are developing even further and that they are still able to beat top European teams despite the lack of experience that was seen as weakness prior to the Euros and which turned out to be a source of strength.
Moreover, the mixture of young talented players and a few experienced players can always create solid teams and bring positive results. Therefore, Germany are actually on the right path and their fans have the right to dream about exceptional results in the upcoming World Cup.
In this tactical analysis article, the focus will be on both team performances and especially on how Germany’s attacking performance. At the same time, the analysis will tackle France’s issues and what needs to be fixed in order to improve their performances against powerful teams like Germany.
Germany were lined-up according to the 4-2-3-1 formation with Merle Frohms as a goalkeeper, Nicole Anyomi, Kathrin Hendrich, Sjoeke Nüsken and Felicitas Rauch in defence, Lena Oberdorf and Lena Lattwein as central midfielders, Svenja Huth and Klara Bühl as wingers while Bayern Munich‘s Linda Dallmann was the advanced playmaker behind the experienced striker Alexandra Popp.
For France, the team started the match with the 4-1-4-1 formation relying on Pauline Peyraud Magnin as a goalkeeper, Chelsea’s Ève Périsset, Manchester United‘s Aïssatou Tounkara, Wendie Renard and Selma Bacha in defence, Charlotte Bilbault as a defensive midfielder, Kenza Dali and Grace Geyoro as central midfielders, Kadidiatou Diani and Delphine Cascarino as wingers while Ouleymata Sarr was the team’s striker.
It is true that Germany won this match and looked better overall. However, they still need to improve their performances from a statistical point of view since they shot 14 times and only three of these shots were on target. This certainly needs to be improved as it is fundamental to shoot on goal whenever chances are created especially at this high level.
The team shouldn’t underestimate their opponents and have to focus more than 100% on every created chance in order to finish it well and get a positive result out of it. And perhaps the mentality of a player like Popp can encourage the rest of the players to be more efficient in this aspect since she scored two goals out of complicated situations and made sure that she exploited the opportunity she had.
The key in such situations is not only related to skills but mainly to well-timed, quick positioning and belief in one’s ability to score. Belief in these situations usually leads to determination and therefore it becomes easier for a player to execute the action despite the disturbance.
Here is a graphic that highlights Popp’s great finishing abilities at 31 years old and shows exactly why she is still the starting player for the German national team.
Popp was able to score the team’s first goal using her experience in aerial duels and making sure that she hits the ball at any cost. She uses her physical abilities in an efficient way to beat her direct marker and be ready to direct the ball towards the far post and make the goalkeeper’s mission complicated.
Her second goal also highlights her great vision and sense of the goal. But the credit in this action also goes to Huth for her great assist but more importantly to Brand who initiated the action with an excellent penetration towards the box following an interception of the ball in a key area.
Huth then was able to provide a through pass in the direction of Popp and the latter’s reaction was quick enough to reach the ball because Huth’s pass was difficult to reach and required a quick movement to touch the ball prior to both the defender and goalkeeper. And that’s why Popp was obliged to use a sliding tackle to score this goal.
Apart from their attacking performance, Germany will need to be much more attentive when it comes to their defensive organisation. They conceded numerous chances especially from the wings during this match and could have conceded more than one goal if France finished their actions with more accuracy.
There were relatively many individual mistakes committed in dangerous areas of the pitch such as the one that led to the dangerous action shown below. In fact, Germany conceded 15 shots in this match and that is a big number for a team like Germany. Also, the goalkeeper committed an error that led to conceding a goal when she made a foul on Lindsey Thomas. In the particular chance shown below, Cascarino pressed high on Hendrich who was hesitant and didn’t have the flexibility to deal with that situation in the adequate way. Therefore, she lost the ball inside the box and Cascarino could have scored a goal following her interception since she had a very clear trajectory in front of her. But luckily for Germany, the shot was deflected thanks to Nüsken’s sliding tackle which saved the situation.
France relied on the overlaps of full-backs a lot as also crossed a lot from the wings to find Sarr inside the box. Yet this wasn’t always useful since Sarr was often marked. Nevertheless, the wing overlaps created problems for Germany as their defence failed to stop Cascarino and Bacha’s threats. As you can see below, Bacha often starts running towards the corner when Cascarino is about to receive the ball, creating a lot of space on that wing and therefore be able to execute late crosses.
France could have done more in terms of attack in order to equalise. They shot 15 times with five on target but they could have exploited the chances they created in a more accurate way in order to disturb Germany more and ultimately score more goals. As a result, what they need to improve is the quality of their final touch.
The team is powerful in midfield and has got some very good attacking players but it seems that their abilities are not 100% exploited in this team. The role of the head coach is also to find attacking tactics and plans that completely suit the abilities of the players.
Germany won one of the important matches in terms of rivalry and they showed that that they are ready for even more difficult tests in the future. Nevertheless, there are still numerous details to improve both from a defensive and an attacking point of view in order to prepare better and make use of the full squad potential.
When it comes to France, the team didn’t perform badly and the players created even more shooting opportunities than Germany. However, they need to finish the actions better and be more intelligent from a tactical perspective when dealing with a team like Germany.